Phantom Limb Pain treatment based on Augmented/Virtual Reality, Gaming, and Myoelectric Pattern Recognition

Start date 01/01/2013
Dr. Max Ortiz Catalan, Ph.D., developed a new method for the treatment of Phantom Limb Pain (PLP) based on the promotion of phantom movements along with virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), namly Phantom Motor Execution (video).
Complex movements of the missing limb (phantom) are predicted by machine learning algorithms using patterns of muscular activity at the stump (myoelectric pattern recognition), while the patient is provided with timely visual feedback in virtual or augmented reality environments. This non-invasive therapy that exploits principles of brain plasticity has shown to be effective in chronic PLP sufferers for whom no other treatments were effective (intractable chroninc PLP). Further development and clinical validation is currently ongoing.

Dr. Ortiz Catalan's research also includes the neural control of bionic limbs via osseointegrated implants​.
​​This research was or is currently done in collaboration with the following partners:
  • Faculty of Medicine and Health, University Health Care Research Centre, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
  • Centre for Advanced Reconstruction of Extremities, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • Gåskolan/Ortopedteknik, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • Rehabcenter Sfären, Bräcke Diakoni, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • University Rehabilitation Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
  • University of Groningen, University Medical Centre Groningen, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Groningen, Netherlands.
  • School of Psychology & Centre for Pain Research, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.
  • Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University of New Brunswick, New Brunswick, Canada.
  • Fysische Geneeskunde en Revalidatie, University Hospital Gent, Gent, Belgium. 
  • Integrum AB, Mölndal, Sweden.

People who has contributed in some form, or continue doing so, in the development of the technology used in this project:

  • Eva Lendaro
  • Enzo Mastinu
  • Morten B. Kristoffersen
  • Alejandra Zepeda E.
  • Sonam Iqbal
  • Rannveig A. Guðmundsdóttir
  • Fredrik Carlsson Ekåsen
  • Sigrún Víkingsdóttir
  • Nichlas Sander
Listed in chronological order starting from on going contributions
​This research has been funded by:
Listed in chronicolgial order

Over 160 news articles were published on this project after the publication of the first scientific article, as reported by the press department at Chalmers University of Technology. Over 200 news articles after publication of the article in "The Lancet".


​Highlighted media - English
    • D-News, “Virtual Reality Helps Phantom Limb Pain!”.
    • The Conversation, "Phantom menace: augmented reality eases missing limb pain”.
      • BBC, “Virtual arm eases phantom limb pain”, 26-02-2014.
      • ABC, "Virtual Reality Gives Amputee Real-Life Relief”, 26-02-2014.
      • Fox News, “Virtual Reality Treatment Relieves Amputee's Phantom Pain”, 26-02-2014.
​Highlighted media - other lenguages
  • Swedish
  • French
    • Arte (TV), “Futuremag”, Emission #16 (Starts 08:20) 
    • France 5 (TV), “Le Magazine de la santé”, 26 Feb 2014 (Starts 15:45)
  • German
    • Arte (TV), “Futuremag”, Emission #16 (Starts 08:20)
  • Spanish
    • El Mundo, "Un alivio después de 48 años con dolor en un miembro fantasma",  26 Feb 2014

Television

  • International
    • Discovery Channel, "Future Now", 8 Sep 2015.
    • Discovery Channel (Canada), “The Daily Planet”, Episode 25 Feb 2014
    • D-News (online),  “Virtual Reality Helps Phantom Limb Pain!”
  • France
    • Arte (TV), “Futuremag”, Emission #16 (Starts 08:20)
    • Arte (TV), “Futuremag”, 20 Mat 2014 (Starts 07:00)
    • France 5, “Le Magazine de la santé”, 26 Feb 2014 (15:45)
  • German
    • Art e (TV), “Futuremag”, Emission #16 (Starts 08:20)
  • Sweden
    • TV4, “Nyhetsmorgon”, 5 March 2014
    • Svt, "Animerad arm lindrar fantomsmärtor", 2 December 2016

Radio

    • ABC Australia, "ABC News", July, 2016.
    • Marketplace, ”Weekend”, 24 Apr 2015 (starts at 19:40)
    • Kossornas Planet, ” Ture har fått en ny arm i datorn”, 26 Apr 2014, full version,  short version.
    • Dradio Wissen, ”Virtuelle Schmerzen, Virtueller Rollantausch”,  20 Mar 2014 
    • COPE España, ”Fin de Semana”,  08 Mar 2014 (starts at 34:00)
    • COPE España, ”La Mañana”,  05 Mar 2014 (starts at 33:00)
    • ABC Radio, “Virtual Reality Gives Amputee Real-Life Relief”, (front page – Health News 26-02-2014)
    • OE1 Austria,” Wissen aktuell,  computerspiel gegen den Phantomschmerz”,  26 Feb 2014
    • Vetenskap & Miljö, “Virtuell arm kan hjälpa mot fantomsmärtor”, 26 Feb 2014
    • Vetandets Värld, “Fantomsmärtor behandlas virtuellt”, 26 Feb 2014 
    • P4 Göteborg, "Ny metod halverar fantomsmärtorNy metod halverar fantomsmärtor", 

Printed press

  • English
    • Hochnadel, L., “Myoelectric Signals, VR Ease Phantom Limb Pain”, The O&P Edge, Apr 2014:15. Print.
  • Sweden
    • Henriksson, D., “Unik terapi mot fantomsmärtor”, Göteborg Posten, 26 Feb 2014:4-5. Print.
    • TT, “Ny metod mot fantomsmärtor”, Metro, 27 Feb 2014:4. Print.
    • “Virtuell arm botar fantomsmärtor”, Chalmers magasin, nr 1 2014:5. Print.
  • France
    • Des Jeux contre les membre fantômes”, Giphar Magazine, Nr 20, Jan/Feb 2015:26-27. Print.
  • Germany
    • Tsakiridou, E. “Phanthomschmerzen lassen sich wegtrainieren”, VDI nachrichten, Nr 23, Jun, 2014:12. Print.
    • Senkowski et al., “Bloß nicht hinschauen!”, Gehirn und Geist, Spektrumsverlag, Oct, 2015. Print
  • ​Mexico
    • "Crea un Mexicano technologia para eliminar el dolor fanstasma", Revista Quo Mexico, Nr 225, Pag. 72-75, Jun, 2016 
Online press
  • English
    • BBC, “Virtual arm eases phantom limb pain”, (front page – Health News 26-02-2014).
    • ABC, “Virtual Reality Gives Amputee Real-Life Relief”, (front page – Health News 26-02-2014).
    • Fox News, “Virtual Reality Treatment Relieves Amputee's Phantom Pain”, (front page – Health News 26-02-2014).
    • Polygon, “How video games and augmented reality could cure phantom pain”.
    • Yahoo News, “Virtual Reality Treatment Relieves Amputee's Phantom Pain”.
    • Health, “Amputee’s ‘Phantom Limb’ Pain Eased by Virtual Arm Technology”.
    • Medical Express, “Phantom limb pain relieved when amputated arm is put back to work".
    • Live Science,“Virtual Reality Treatment Relieves Amputee's Phantom Pain”.
    • Gizmag, "Augmented reality treatment alleviates phantom limb pain".
    • Medical Device Technology (MDT), "Phantom Limb Pain Relieved when Amputated Arm Is Put Back to Work", 
    • European Medical Device Technology, "How Augmented Reality Can Relieve Phantom Limb Pain", 
    • Doctors Lounge, "Amputee’s ‘Phantom Limb’ Pain Eased by Virtual Arm Technology",
    • Science Codex, "Phantom limb pain relieved when amputated arm is put back to work",
    • Science 2.0, "Phantom limb pain relieved when amputated arm is put back to work",
    • Philly, " New Prosthetic Hands Restore Sense of Touch to AMputees", 
    • US News and Health Report, "Amputee's 'Phantom Limb' Pain Eased by Virtual Arm Technology",
    • The Local, " Phantom limb patients treated in virtual reality",
    • Red Orbit"New Method Developed for Treatment of Phantom Limb Pain After Amputeation",
    • Medical News Today, "Phantom limb pain: potential new treatment method for amputees!,
    • Nature World News, "Researchers Treat Phantom Pain Using Virtual Arm",
    • Healio, "New method developed to treat phantom limb pain",
    • The Almagest, "Phantom Limb Pain Relieved With Virtual Arm Technology",
    • The Verge, "Augmented reality could help amputees with phantom limb pain",
    • Top News , "Superb Computer Program for Phantom Limb Pain ",
    • Business and Health, "Virtual Arm Found Effective in Managing Phantom Limb Pain (VIDEO)",
    • Science Business, "Chalmers researchers develop a new method for the treatment of phantom limb pain",
    • Poughkeepsie Journal, "Technology eases ‘phantom limb’ pain",
    • eHealt News . EU, "Phantom Limb Pain Relieved with Augmented Reality",
    • Singularity Hub, "Virtual Arm Eases Amputee’s Phantom Limb Pain",
    • Science Daily, "Phantom limb pain relieved when amputated arm is put back to work",
    • The Straits Times, "Computer games relieve phantom pain from missing limb",
    • NIH news, Health Canal, "Phantom limb pain relieved when amputated arm is put back to work",
    •  OFweek, "AR helps patients with chronic intractable phantom limb pain",
    • Uncova, "The animated body parts helping cure phantom limb pain",
    • 365 news, "Computer games relieve phantom limb pain: study",
    • Cnet, "The animated body parts helping cure phantom limb pain"
    • Sputnik news, " Swedish VR Method Helps Relieve Real Phantom Limb Pain", 
    • WoW, "Augmented reality treatment reduces phantom pain in missing limbs", 
    • Uncova, "Augmented reality treatment reduces phantom pain in missing limbs",
    • The Star Online, "Computer games relieve phantom limb pain: study",
    • Mobi health news, "Study finds AR helps reduce phantom limb pain in people with amputations",
    • True Viral News, " Augmented reality treatment reduces phantom pain in missing limbs",
    • Electronic specifier, "AR helps patients with chronic phantom limb pain",
    • Seeker, "For Amputees, Computer Games Relieve Phantom Limb Pain ",
    • The sun daily, "Computer games relieve phantom limb pain: study", 
    • Age Times, "Augmented existence diagnosis reduces haunt pain in blank limbs", 
    • Tech crunch, "Augmented reality treatment reduces phantom pain in missing limbs",
    • Yahoo, "Phantom limb pain may be addressed by computer games",
    • Oandp, "Augmented Reality Relieves Phantom Limb Pain",
    • Digital trends, " Phantom limb pain may be addressed by computer games",
    • Newscaf, "Computer games relieve phantom limb pain: study",
    • Health Canal, "Phantom movements in augmented reality helps patients with chronic intractable phantom limb pain",
    • MSN, "Computer games relieve phantom limb pain: study",
    • Institution of Mechanical Ingineers, "Augmented reality used to treat phantom limb pain",
    • Enca, "Computer games relieve phantom limb pain: study",
    • CTV news, "Computer games relieve phantom limb pain: study", 
    • Gadgets Now, " Playing computer games relieves amputees' phantom pain: Study",
    • The Economic Times, "Blessing in disguise: Computer games may relieve phantom limb pain", 
    • World News Repport, "Swedish study: Virtual reality relieves phantom limbs ", 
    • Dunya news, "Computer games relieve phantom limb pain: study",
    • Samaa, "Computer games can relieve phantom limb pain", 
    • Rappler, "Computer games relieve phantom limb pain – study", 
    • Lifestyle magazine, "Study: Computer games relieve phantom limb pain",
    • Malay mail online, "Study shows computer games relieve phantom limb pain",
    • Health Medicine Network, "Phantom movements in augmented reality helps patients with intractable phantom limb pain",
    • Pain Matters, "Pain managment – pokémon go-style?",
    • Australia​
      • The Conversation“Phantom menace: augmented reality eases missing limb pain”,
      • Cnet, "The animated body parts helping cure phantom limb pain",
    • Bangladesh
    • China
      • The China Post, "Computer games may relieve phantom limb pain: research",
    • India
      • AKTK, "Augmented reality treatment reduces phantom pain in missing limbs", 
    • Japan
      • The Japan Times, "Virtual reality game helps to ease phantom limb pain, study says",
      • Japan today, "Computer games relieve phantom limb pain: study"
    • Nigeria
    • Pakistan
    • Singapore
    • Sweden
      • The local, "Swedish study: Virtual reality relieves phantom limbs",
    • USA
      • Scientific American,“Virtual Reality Treatment Relieves Amputee's Phantom Pain”,
      • HealthyDay“Amputee's 'Phantom Limb' Pain Eased by Virtual Arm Technology”,
      • KMBZ, "Virtual Relity gives amputee real life reliefe",
      • Smithsonian,“Instead of Painkillers, Some Doctors Are Prescribing Virtual Reality​”,
      • Vocativ, "Augmented Reality Helps Ease Phantom Pain In Amputees",  
      • Eagle News, "Computer games relieve phantom limb pain: study",
    • UK
      • Wired UK, “AR helps amputee experience first pain-free night in 48 years”,
  • French
    • France
      • Le Munde, "Faire bouger un membre fantôme",
      • Science et Avenir, "S.O.S. Douleurs fantômes",
      • GNT, "La rèalité augumentée pour lutter contre la douleur fantome chez les amputés",
      • Pour quoi docteur, "Un bras virtuel réduit les douleurs fantômes après une amputation",
      • Doctissimo, "La réalité augmentée au secours des membres fantômes",
      • Magazine, "Une avancée pour les amputés. Un bras artificiel guidé par la pensée",​
  • ​​German
    • Austria
      • Science ORF,“Computerspiel gegen den Phantomschmerz”,
      • Med online AT,  “Augmented Reality steuert computergenerierte Gliedmaßen”,
      • Nachrichten, "Videospielen lindert Phantomschmerzen",
      • Kronen Zeitung, "Gaming lindert Phantomschmerzen bei Amputierten",
      • Der Standard, "Zocken in virtuellen Welten kann Phantomschmerzen lindern", 
      • Science, "Zocken in virtuellen Welten kann Phantomschmerzen lindern ",
    • Germany​
      • VDI Nachrichten, “Phantomschmerzen lassen sich wegtrainieren”, 
      • Aerzteblatt, "Virtueller Arm lindert Phantomschmerzen",
      • Spektrum, "Mit Spieletechnik Schmerzen bekämpfen​",
      • Earzteblatt, "Augmented Reality hilft Patienten mit Phantomschmerzen",
      • Chip, " Kampf gegen Phantomschmerzen: Ist ausgerechnet das die Lösung?",
      • Gesundheits Stad Berlin, "Computerspiel lindert Phantom-Schmerzen",
      • Augsburger Allgemeine, "Phantomschmerz nach Amputation: So sollen Computerspiele helfen", 
      • Vrodo, "Augmented Reality: Virtuelle Gliedmaße können Phantomschmerzen lindern", 
      • T-online, "Phantomschmerz nach Amputation mit Zocken lindern", 
      • Salzburger Nachrichten, "Zocken in virtuellen Welten kann Phantomschmerzen lindern", 
      • Deutschland Today, "Studie: Zocken in virtuellen Welten kann Phantomschmerzen lindern",
      • Bussiness Panorama, "Studie: Zocken in virtuellen Welten kann Phantomschmerzen lindern",
      • RP online, "Computerspielen kann Phantomschmerzen bei Amputationen lindern", 
      • Umwelt Panorama, "Studie: Zocken in virtuellen Welten kann Phantomschmerzen lindern",
      • Unternehmen Heute, "Studie: Zocken in virtuellen Welten kann Phantomschmerzen lindern"
      • Taglischer Anzeiger, "Studie: Zocken in virtuellen Welten kann Phantomschmerzen lindern",
      • Yahoo Nachrichten, "Studie: Zocken in virtuellen Welten kann Phantomschmerzen lindern",
    • Switzerland
  •  ​​Spanish (Spain & Latin America)
    • Investigación y Desarrollo"Mexicano crea tratamiento virtual para dolor de miembro fantasma"
    • El Mundo, "Un alivio después de 48 años con dolor en un miembro fantasma",
    • Correio Braziliense, "O fim da dor que não deveria existir", 
    • Investigación y Desarrollo, "Crea mexicano sistema que cura el síndrome del miembro fantasma",
    • PubliMetro, "Un sistema de realidad virtual promete curar el síndrome del "miembro fantasma",
    • Libertad Digital, "Un sistema de realidad virtual hace disaparecer el sindrome del miembro fantasma",
    • ABC España, "Una terapia acaba con el 'dolor fantasma' en amputados",
    • El Economista, "Un brazo virtual consigue eliminar el dolor del 'miembro fantasma' al simular su movimiento", 
    • Universo canario, "Un brazo virtual consigue eliminar el dolor del 'miembro fantasma' al simular su movimiento", 
    • Hipertextual, "Recrean miembros amputados con realidad virtual para suprimir el dolor fantasma",
    • Código Espagueti, "Mexicano crea un nuevo método para combatir el “dolor fantasma",
    • Medicina Tv, "Un brazo virtual consigue eliminar el dolor del ‘miembro fantasma’ al simular su movimiento",
    • Republica de las ideas, "Un brazo virtual consigue eliminar el dolor del ‘miembro fantasma’ ", 
    • Cronica de Madrid, "Un brazo virtual logra eliminar el dolor del "miembro fantasma" tras la amputación",    
    • ElGolfo"Mexicano crea un nuevo método para combatir el “dolor fantasma”",
    • Un semana el digital, "Un brazo virtual consigue eliminar el dolor del ´miembro fantasma´ al simular su movimiento", 
    • Que!,  Un brazo virtual consigue eliminar el dolor del 'miembro fantasma' al simular su movimiento",
    • Info Med Salud de Cuba, "Logran eliminar el dolor del miembro "fantasma" en personas amputadas",
    • Ideal, "Descubren cómo evitar que los miembros fantasmas duelan",
    • Medical Press, "Dolor fantasma: nuevo método de tratamiento para los amputados", 
  • Swedish
  • Chinese
    • Ettoday, "截肢患者用AR長手腳 解決醫療難解的「幻肢痛」", 
    • Yahoo news Hong Kong, "研究:虛擬實境電玩有助減輕幻肢痛",
    • SETN, "截肢者福音 虛擬實境電玩有助減輕幻痛",
    • CD news, "國際/截肢者福音 虛擬實境電玩有助減輕幻痛 ,"
    • Central News Agency, ",截肢者福音 虛擬實境電玩有助減輕幻痛, "
    • Yam news, "截肢者福音 虛擬實境電玩有助減輕幻痛, "
  • Danish (Denmark)
    • Videnskab DK, "Vild teknologi fjerner fantomsmerter med virtuelle kropsdele",
    • IGN, "Computerspil kan kurere fantomsmerter",
  • Dutch
    • Belgium
      • De Morgen, "Op de pc getekende nephand doet fantoompijn vervagen",
      • Laatste nieuws online, " Augmented reality lijkt te helpen tegen fantoompijn",
      • MSN, "Onderzoekers gebruiken augmented reality tegen fantoompijn ",
    • Netherlands
      • Volkskrant, " Op de pc getekende nephand wuift fantoompijn geamputeerde weg",​​​​
      • Watenschap24"Fantoompijnen verzacht door augmented reality",
      • Metronews, "Augmented reality lijkt te helpen tegen fantoompijn",
      • Numrush, "Onderzoek: augmented reality kan gebruikt worden tegen fantoompijn"
      • ICT & Health, "Augmented reality werkt tegen fantoompijn",
      • Metro XL, "Augmented reality lijkt te helpen tegen fantoompijn",
      • Apparata, "Zo bestrijdt augmented reality fantoompijn", 
      • Nu, "Onderzoekers gebruiken augmented reality tegen fantoompijn",
  • ​Indonesian (Indonesia)
  • Japanese
    • AFP news, "VRゲームで仮想の腕を操作、切断者の幻肢痛を軽減 ",
  • Korean (Korea)
    • This is Game, "(영상) 의료행위를 위한 게임 활용, 뇌졸중 환자와 사지절단 환자 치료
    • 스웨덴은 환상통 치료 위한 게임 개발, 국내는 키넥트 활용법 연구",
  • Polish (Poland)
    • Nauka, "Wirtualna kończyna łagodzi bóle fantomowe",
    • Roik, ""Wirtualna kończyna łagodzi bóle fantomowe",
    • Medtronic, "Przelomowe technologie medyczne",
    • Kopalnia wiedzy  "Nowa (skuteczna) metoda leczenia bólu kończyny fantomowej", 
    • Antyweb, "Rzeczywistość rozszerzona pozwala leczyć bóle fantomowe",
  • Portuguese
    • Brazil
      • Extra, "Combinação de tecnologias ajuda a aliviar dores de 'membros fantasma'",
      • O Globo, "Combinação de tecnologias ajuda a aliviar dores de membros fantasma",
      • Veja, "Pesquisador desenvolve braço artificial controlado pelo pensamento",
      • EM, "Técnica obtém sucesso contra a síndrome do membro fantasma",
    • Portugal
  • ​Russian (Russia)
    • ​Newsland"Виртуальная конечность поможет облегчить фантомные боли",​
    • Hor News, "Виртуальная реальность справится с фантомными болями",
  • Slovakia
    • Moj android, "Rozšírená realita pomôže zredukovať fantómovú bolesť v chýbajúcích končatinách",
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Published: Fri 21 Nov 2014. Modified: Mon 22 Jan 2018